Sunlight, indoor lights, digital screens including phones and computers, all expose your eye to a variety of lights that have a range of effects. While most of us are well aware of sunlight being both visible and invisible (the ultraviolet rays) that tans and burns the skin, many are unaware that each of these sunrays carry a different percentage of energy.
The blue light
The anatomy of sunlight includes yellow, green, red, orange and blue light rays, each carrying a unique shade for all these colours which depends on the wavelength and energy also coined as electromagnetic radiation.
Blue light rays have the shortest wavelength and significantly high energy due to which it’s also termed as violet or blue-violet light. Invisibility of these lights is the reason we call them as ultraviolet (UV) radiations.
Ultraviolet – The good & the bad
Since UV rays have the highest energy level, they’re capable of actually changing skin colour thus tanning it when exposed. That being said, tanning booths actually contain UV-emitting bulbs to which we expose ourselves and have the skin tanned without realising the aftermath. Significant exposure causes painful sunburn, raises the risk of skin cancer and results in sunburned eyes; this condition is known as photokeratitis or snow blindness.
Conversely, moderate exposure of the body to UV light helps development of Vitamin D, important for health of the bones and joints. One-third of all visible lights are considered High-Energy Visible (HEV) or ‘blue’ light.
- Blue light is almost everywhere
Sun is the primary source of blue light and when outdoors during daylight, we’re exposed to it in significant amount. There’re many artificial sources of blue lights as well like LED and fluorescent bulbs alongside computer and television screens illuminated by embedded LEDs. Although blue light emitted by these electronic devices is only a fraction as compared to sunrays, excess exposure and gluing ourselves to them affects the vision.
- Eye blocks less blue light
Frontal structures of an adult human eye that are the lens and cornea are excellent in blocking UV rays from reaching the retina. However, the anterior layers don’t block UV rays to 100% and unless you’re wearing sunglasses, these can significantly damaging for the eye and raise the risk of cataracts, snow blindness, pterygium and even eye cancer. Blue light, being the strongest of all UVs can penetrate these layers and reaches back to the retina. The damage done by the blue light may require surgery of the cornea in Abu Dhabi only if it’s severe enough to affect vision permanently.
- Increased risk of macular degeneration
Clinical studies concluded that too much exposure to the blue light can be detrimental for light-sensitive cells in the retina and the abnormal alteration may resemble to macular degeneration that leads to permanent loss of vision. Further research also indicted that artificial blue light is far more dangerous which is certain to increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration.